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The Big Apple Film Festival rolled on into the weekend and generated its biggest crowds yet. Saturday’s line-up of films proved to be a success as cinema lovers came to Tribeca Cinemas to support dozens of independent movies.
Early Saturday evening’s program grouped together six short films. The first film, “The Empty Playground,” was directed by Philip Giordano. Although the film only lasted four minutes, it made audience members think critically about the main character’s intentions. As a middle-aged man, he lures a young girl to the back of his van and, when noticed, he speeds away.
Even though there was little dialogue in the film, the acting shined through and portrayed a telling story. After “The Empty Playground” came a film directed by Chris Adler, entitled “Reco.” Set in the 1880s on the American frontier, an adopted teenage girl named Annie tries to find her biological mother.
Annie learns that she was given up because her biological mother wanted to protect her from her abusive father. Reco, Annie’s horse, took her to her mother’s lonely cabin where Annie and her mother could finally have the opportunity to understand each other. A 16-minute film, “I Remember,” had a distinct way of portraying the life of a gay man in his early 20′s.
The main character, Derek, has already come out to his friends and family, but still feels alienated at times within the gay community. The film was directed by John Sylva, who explained that he had yet to see a movie that depicted the life of a man who still had internal conflicts after previously coming out to the people in his life.
One of the highlights of this group of short films was a movie called “I Am Julia.” This 15-minute film captured one of most prominent problems many teenagers struggle with every day: bullying. Julia, a high school teenager, has just moved from Colombia to New York City, and is constantly bullied by a trio of her schoolmates.
It is an extremely realistic and shows how constant torment can cause a person to feel helpless. The director, David Capruso, explained, “It deals with a situation that we have right now all around the world with bullies.” Equally sharing the role of most-loved film during the evening’s program was “Pennies.”
Artistic cinematography skills shined in this 14-minute movie where Jimmy walks around New York City trying to find the owners of pennies he has found on the street. Throughout his search, the majority of the people he meets have a hard time understanding why he is on his mission.
Jimmy meets a young boy named Ashley, who explains that he donates all his loose change to charity. When Jimmy realizes that his pennies can go to a greater cause, he leaves a large basket full of pennies at Ashley’s door for him to give to charity. “I’ve always since I was a little kid been obsessed with hidden treasures,” stated Jonathan Chanin, director of the film.
“I was trying to think how that would work in the city.”
The final short movie of the program was only three minutes long but one of the most visually pleasing of the night. Director Levi Bowman created “Found,” an artistic approach to poetry. This film was based on a poem that was found on the New York City streets by an anonymous author. Bowman was able to take the poem and create a piece of work that exemplifies artistry and film making.
The evening capped off with a filmmakers party in the Varick Room, a bar and lounge connected to Tribeca Cinemas. Sponsored by Belgian beer Stella Artois, film makers, actors, and audience members had a great opportunity to mingle over free beer while a DJ helped liven the crowd with upbeat music. All in all, Saturday evening at the Big Apple Film Festival was a thriving night of talent and art.